RUINED HEART: Another Love Story Between a Criminal and a Whore (2014)

RUINED HEART: Another Love Story Between a Criminal and a Whore 

Ruined Heart DVD Cover
Ruined Heart DVD Cover

UK Release Date: December 07th, 2015 via Third Window Films

Running Time: 73 mins.

Directors: Khavn

Writer: Khavn (Screenplay)

Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Nathalia Acevedo, Andre Puertollano, Elena Kazan, Vim Nadera

Website   IMDB

The latest release from Third Window Films is Ruined Heart: Another Love Story Between a Criminal and a Whore. That long title should give an indication that the audience is going to be given a familiar tale of forbidden love with archetypal characters but the way it is shot and the use of songs makes the film different.

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The Gift (2015)

The Gift   The Gift Film Poster

UK Release Date: August 07th, 2015

Running Time: 108 mins.

Directors: Joel Edgerton

Writer: Joel Edgerton (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Wendell Pierce, Nash Edgerton,

When you meet the person of your dreams, the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, would you tell them about the less flattering moments in your history, the bad bits that make you ashamed? Or would you leave them out and make a future with them? I think we would all like to craft a new reality and leave out the bad bits even if it isn’t being totally honest.

The Gift is all about the differences between perception and reality. Through the way we speak, the way we cultivate our appearance, a few spoken sentences and the content we put into and omit from those sentences, we can create ideas of who we are and influence people’s perception of us. The characters all project their best selves to the world but when the past comes back to haunt one of them they find what they considered their reality shifting.

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Genkina hito’s Top Twelve Films of 2014

Better late than never! And why twelve? Because it’s hard to decide! This is my list of top twelve films I saw in 2014 so it covers movie releases both new and old. I watched a lot of films in 2014. I was going to the cinema nearly two or three times a month and renting/buying a lot of films so I have built up an impressive list that spans genres and eras ‘60s (Kuroneko, Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41) and ‘80s (Blade Runner, Ghostbusters) and 2014s…

The World of Kanako TsumabukiMy cinematic year began not with a Japanese film but American Hustle, a nice distraction before I headed down to London for the 2014 edition of the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. I came away from that film festival profoundly moved by the humanism and simple beauty of everyday life I saw in Kimi no Tomodachi, the perfect drama with a plucky protagonist in Shindo and the very dark existential drama Parade. I followed that with a trip to the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival where I cried buckets over Colorful and saw the future of anime in Patema Inverted. Despite loving these films so much it has taken me nearly a year to write/publish reviews of them because I was constantly going to the Belle (Mbatha-Raw) and Elizabeth (Gadon) in Bellecinema to see the likes of Blue Ruin, The Wind Rises, Deliver Us From Evil, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Belle. Kotatsu was followed by the 2014 Terracotta Far East Film Festival in May which is where I met Akira Nagai, director of Judge!, the actors of Be My Baby, and I enjoyed watching The Snow White Murder Case. In September/October/November I was in London for the Raindance Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival where I met and interviewed/talked to even more directors. Out of all the films I watched between the two festivals it was Fuku-chan of Fukufuku Flats and The World of Kanako which impressed me the most.

Overall, 2014 was a good year for my Japanese film viewing but my final list contains a lot of western films. Here are my top films from 2014.

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Cold in July (2014)

Cold in July (2014)   Cold in July UK Poster

UK Release Date: June, 2014

Running Time: 109 mins.

Director: Jim Mickle

Writer: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici (Screenplay), Joe R. Lansdale (Story)

Starring: Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Nick Damici, Vinessa Shaw,

Director Jim Mickle and actor/writer Nick Damici have had a run of horror films with alternative zombie plague chiller Mulberry St (2006), downbeat and savage dystopian vampire film Stake Land (2010) and the remake of the Mexican cannibal film, We Are What We Are (2013), but here they trade genres opting to go for a pulpy thriller based on a novel by Joe R Lansdale.

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Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)  Edge of Tomorrow UK Film Poster

UK Release Date: May 30th, 2014 (seen at a cinema on the same day I watched Godzilla)

Running Time: 99 mins.

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth (Screenplay), Hiroshi Sakurazaka (Original Novel)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Riley, Noah Taylor, Franz Drameh, Madeleine Mantock,

Warning Spoilers for some of Tom Cruise’s earlier films in the opening paragraph:

Tom Cruise dies in this one. Not that revealing his character’s death spoils the movie. Edge of Tomorrow is based on a novel where the main protagonist dies quite a bit. That’s what makes the film surprisingly fun. Of course, A-list Hollywood actors can die and even Tom kicks the bucket in a number of his own films like The Last Samurai and Collateral but few films take great delight showing Tom get crushed, shot, impaled, drowned, blown up, and more in all manners of inventive and grisly ways over and over again in a smart and surprisingly vicious sci-fi war movie.

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Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler (2014)   Nightcrawler Film Poster

UK Release Date: June, 2014

Running Time: 109 mins.

Director: Dan Gilroy

Writer: Dan Gilroy (Screenplay),

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russon, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed, Michael Hyatt, Price Carson,

The film begins with soaring optimistic music that tends to play when you have stories about The American Dream but the visuals subvert the cliches we expect. Instead of scenes suffused with sunlight and filled with beautiful smiling people our first images are of L.A. at night, bright neon lights and billboards, wide roads that stretch endlessly and crushingly heavy-looking black skies.

There is potential out there, but it will come from somewhere unexpected.

We soon meet our main protagonist chasing The American Dream.

Nightcrawler Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) 2

Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal), a gaunt ghoulish shadowy figure who is comfortable stalking the night. We catch him in the process of stealing manhole covers and other metal objects to sell for scrap. Within minutes of his introduction he will kill someone. By the end of the film many more will die as he tries to achieve his own success story through being a freelance crime journalist, recording death scenes from accidents and violent crime and selling them to TV news veteran Nina (Russo) so she can boost ratings for her middling local station.

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The Guest (2014)

The Guest (2014)   The Guest Film Poster

UK Release Date: September 05th, 2014

Running Time: 99 mins.

Director: Adam Wingard

Writer: Simon Barrett (Screenplay),

Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Sheila Kelley, Lance Reddick, Brendan Meyer, Leland Orser, Tabatha Shaun,

Mumblegore film You’re Next (2013) put director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett firmly on the map with its blend of classy visuals and genre-mixing as a family came under siege from brutal masked killers in a home invasion horror meets black comedy film. They do much the same here in The Guest, a film which feels like a take on 80s style thrillers complete with glorious synth soundtrack with an added dose of slasher horror.

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Belle (2013)

Belle (2013)        Belle UK Film Poster

UK Release Date: June 13th, 2014

Running Time: 104 mins.

Director: Amma Asante

Writer: Misan Sagay (Screenplay),

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Reid, Sarah Gadon, Emily Watson, Matthew Goode, Tom Felton, James Norton, Miranda Richardson,

Amma Asante’s Belle has the hallmarks of a costume drama thanks to the setting of Georgian England and its focus on relationships but due to the titular character it is different from other films of the genre. The inspiration for the film comes from a beautiful and lively painting (attributed to Johann Zoffany) of a mixed-race girl and a Dido Elizabeth Belle and Mary Murraywhite girl, both recently revealed to be half-cousins, both given flattering portrait treatment and both depicted as equals. What makes it strange is that this was painted at a time when Britain was a colonial empire and a centre of the slave trade and both people have equal prominence. The mixed-race girl in the picture is Belle. At a time when the voice of slavers was a loud one in the British Empire because the country derived a massive amount of income from the slave trade, Belle lived the life of an aristocrat and would find herself connected to a court case which would decide the fate of the British slave trade. Assante takes this as a starting point to craft a costume drama with a civil-rights edge that tackles race and gender.

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Museum Hours

Museum Hours    Museum Hours Film Poster

Running Time: 107 mins

Release Date: September 06th, 2013 (UK)

Director: Jem Cohen

Writer: Jem Cohen

Starring: Mary Margaret O’Hara, Bobby Sommer, Ela Piplits, Marcus O’Hara

Regular readers (however few you are) will know that I work in an art gallery so it might not come as a surprise that I would be drawn to this title from New York based filmmaker Jem Cohen. Museum Hours is an Austrian-US co-production set in Vienna, Austria. It is less about the inner-workings of a museum (although the details caught are dead on in my experience) and more a naturalistic travelogue in Vienna all about art, people and observation punctuated with what I consider to be misjudged forays into some of the dull aspects of the city that exposes the weakness of slow cinema.

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